ASK THE CONCIERGE
Nobody knows the city better than your expert concierge. Benjamin Mönkemöller from Hotel de Rome is here to help. www.lcdg.org
What does your perfect day look like?
My perfect day starts with a big breakfast at Hallmann & Klee (Böhmische Str. 13), followed by a bike ride through Berlin, taking in music shops such as Bis auf's Messer (www.bisaufsmesser.com), Coretex (www.coretexrecords.com), and Dodo Beach (www.dodobeach.de) and going past the magnificent Rum Depot in Schöneberg. Then dinner at my favorite Italian, Maselli (Nostitzstr. 49), and live music in Kreuzberg at SO36, Cortina Bob, or Urban Spree.
Where do you take your own visitors?
It depends on who they are, but I always take my guests to Tempelhofer Feld and the Maybachufer markets. A beer at Ankerklause (www.ankerklause.de) is also a must.
What are your insider tips for Berlin?
If you like Vietnamese food, definitely visit the Dong Xuan Center (www.dongxuanberlin.de) in Lichtenberg for the best and most authentic pho (noodle soup). Zigarren Herzog am Hafen (Stralauer Allee 9), with its walk- in humidor, great drinks, and excellent espresso served on the sunny terrace is also great.
What do you do after work?
I like to meet friends for a cool Quartiermeister beer at Südblock (Admiralstr. 1-2).
Tell us about your hotel.
The Hotel De Rome building is the former headquarters of Dresdner Bank. The old vault now houses a swimming pool, and the old teller area is now a big ballroom. The five-star hotel stands for exceptional hospitality, tasty food, and first- class facilities.
What is your wildest experience as a concierge?
Once, a guest had an especially obscure request: a balloon filled with live butterflies for a kid's birthday. We had to decline, of course.
A German specialty?
This is obvious: Currywurst with fries! And do not forget your beer!
How is Berlin different from other cities?
Berlin is simply different – it always happens differently than you think. You either hate it or love it.
A romantic suggestion?
To relax, definitely Vabali Spa (but midweek!), or Cecilienhof park in Potsdam.
Images: The Ankerklause bar in Kreuzberg; a bike in the park; Vabali spa. Inset: Benjamin Mönkemöller.